The Tardy Circle

In Which The Circle Arrived At Maelstrom and Found, As Expected, No One Wanted To Let Them In
Resplendent Fire 765: so unloved
12, Marsday:

During the trip to Maelstrom, Kazu and Elaine were chatting and, among other things, she mentioned the living had 3 souls.  When questioned, she revealed that she (and perhaps many of the Underworld) consider the body to be another soul.

The Circle & Company arrive at Maelstrom. The Circle was not allowed into Maelstrom because of DS.  Svava, one of the Valkyrie, went out to meet them.  Judging from the way Elaine greeted her, they might have a thing.    She also didn't want Charon to leave Maelstrom to meet DS, but Charon, apparently, does what he wants.  Shi-renn offered himself as hostage to her captain, and his offer was accepted.

Some time in the midst of the meeting, Shi-renn 's anima banner was noted within the fortress.  Svava was irritated to realize who he was.

Charon and DS went to talk below decks where DS was asked about life under the Lover, and other things concerning Charon's enemies.   Charon mentioned that his title was still a tie to the Lover and he should get a new one.  Charon offered to help, but it would require a ritual that involved some of  DS's hair, blood, and a possession of his.

Back with the rest of the Circle, they talk with Charon about what Tyr did, and how often they would be able to accomplish it.  Charon said it would at least require someone of his power level, the item with pieces mined from Oblivion, and a large population center.  He also suggested a trip to Lytek, where DS and Kazu mentioned again that they didn't have a way to Yu Shan, nor any Sidereals, let alone any that might be inclined to help.  

Charon also talked about how Mask of Winters was an idiot.  He also talked about when MoW was trying to gain territory in the Northwest two hundred years ago, Charon sent a bunch of his people to deal with him.  They succeeded, and were sure they actually "killed" him, but MoW came back.

DS left the headphones he had with Charon, who said he'd like to study it and then assured DS he would unmake it.

Charon told Elaine to take the group where they wanted, but since they couldn't think of a pressing place they needed to be, she agreed to take them somewhere in the future.

Shi-renn eventually returned with a broken arm, and bruised face, and a bunch of other injuries.  He was smiling though.

Wherein It Is Revealed That The Lover Watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Resplendent Fire 765: Who's next? Abyssal Giles? Abyssal Xander?
9, Moonsday:

After several uneventful days at sea,  a storm hit.  There were also some under-gulls (the under-gulls which herald an oncoming storm?), Elaine said they often indicated the presence of a Leviathan, a serpent which was like the Underworld's version of a Lesser Elemental Dragon.  Hopefully it wouldn't be in the mood to be troublesome.

However, the storms usually pass quickly, but this one didn't.  After some investigation, it was revealed to be a necromantic working which trapped in ship in a funnel of energy.  After they wouldn't shake the storm, Harmony was able see beyond the funnel enough to see the ship was headed straight into a cliff.  After some harrowing moments, they were able to break the ship free from the storm.  Elaine needed some time to figure out where they were in relation to Maelstrom, so they needed to anchor at the ominous island.  Kazu sent his puppies while Xian Lin sent her demon.  Many of the puppies died, and the one who survived reported being attacked by a creature DS recognized as one of the Lover's pets, thereafter dubbed the Wendigo.  Asrathifaf (or something, its names isn't spelled anywhere that I see) came back with a note from the Wilted Willow asking for parley. 

Xian Lin and Harmony decided to go see what it was about, and invited her for tea.  Kazu set up tea and set up as many slights as he could think of.  The Willow showed up with Angelus…I mean, the Blood Drenched Angel.  Because of course.  They had hoped the letter would piss DS enough to make him show up, which shows they don't really know him at all if true.  Xian Lin agreed to invite DS up, and Angelus pulled the oathbinding trick revealing himself to be a Moonshadow.  DS agreed to go, they made a lot of insinuations indicating that DS was just following the Lover's orders, but he really needed to stop being naughty and sending raids to the Citadel of Crimson Ice, and some shenanigans he pulled in the North that inconvenienced one of their plans or something.  They were being kinda oblique about it all, but eventually said enough for DS to realize they were talking about the stunt he, Kazu, and Elaine pulled with the Realm and Ice-walker ghost armies.  They wanted him to stop, and tried to negotiate with some information.  DS declined, indicating anything the Lover wanted to tell him wasn't anything that would actually be helpful for him to know.

The Wilted Willow and The Blood Drenched Angel left, saying they were going to leave in an hour and  Wendigo was going to hunt if they felt like fighting it.

In Which the Circle Returns To The Underworld
Resplendent Fire 765: as habits go, it's a questionable one
In Which the Circle Once Again Returns To The Underworld, Which Many Would Argue Probably Isn't Recommended For One's Continued Good Health
5, Marsday:

The rest of the Circle reunites with Xian Lin, and go talk with Nezri about Dragonkings, Deathlords, and what they might be planning.  Evening Mist shows up, and is informed that Harmony was still in the Underworld arguing with great granddad.  She informed Nezri that he would send a Dragon-blood to help her son, and then organized the household to send prayers to Harmony, the Ferrymen, and Charon.  Haneiko says she has another assignment so wouldn't be going with the Circle to meet Charon.  Nezri says someone else could go, and indicates it would probably be Captain Shi-renn.

After gathering supplies, the Circle returned to the Underworld at sunset.  Captain Shi-renn was apparently enthusiastic to go, and chatted about whether or not he'd be able to pull the same trick as Elains new ship and take her to the Underworld as a ghost ship.  He also asked if he would be able to sail the ship, implying that the current captain couldn't possibly be as skilled as he was.  Upon meeting him, Elaine was not super thrilled to realize that he was  the Dragon-blood that had infiltrated their organization, and escaped with info Charon would prefer they didn't have, and in the process of going undercover had a valkyrie(?) named Sigrún fall in love with him, but he burned her ship and left her stranded on an island as he escaped.  Sigrún has  apparently been stuck as a guard at Maelstrom since Charon said he wouldn't give her another ship for 30 years. According to Elaine, Sigrún is still upset and would probably kill him.

Elaine informed the Circle (and guest) that navigation to Maelstrom was tricky and would take a couple days.


In Which the Circle Bravely Ran Away
Resplendent Fire 765: When danger reared it's ugly head, they bravely turned tail and fled
 4, Venusday

While Kazu was finishing up releasing Tyr, the Lord of Void, from his bindings, Darkening Sky felt the approach of four Abyssals. Alerting Kazu and Harmony they needed to get out of here yesterday, he then picked up Kazu and the pot o' souls to get back to the ship ASAP to tell Captain Elaine the trouble.  Harmony, from the crows nest, gave a description of the vessel, which Elaine recognized and called the "Hissy Fit."  The mere presence of the vessel inspired a feeling of dread.  After some fancy ship work, fairly impressive parrying, a prayer that made a certain god super cranky at Feard for forcing him to intervene, and an Essence blast that knocked Kazu head over heals, they got the F out of there.  Also helpful was using Harmony's ancestor as a magnet much in the way Kazu's relative was used to speed the journey to Grey Falls Crater.

Once they were clear, Elaine said the ship was The Lion's Wrath, The First and Forsaken Lion's flagship, but she called it the Hissy Fit so as not to give it more power since it seemed powered by fear of it.

They talked about stuff involving Deathlords, Abyssals, and how often they'd be able to pull what they did in Grey Falls.  It was theorized that Tyr was acting against orders and The Deathlords and Neverborn would not be pleased that the Dragonkings showed what they were capable of/planning.  DS made plans with Elaine to meet Charon while he was still alive to be able to do so, the rest of the Circle decided to tag along.

5, Marsday:

They arrived at Underworld Great Forks and Harmony's Great Grand-dad, who was unhappy at the treatment and argued with Harmony about what he was owed.  At dawn they returned to Creation.  Seven ran off to do some errands.  DS, Kazu, and Feard went to talk to Nezri , who was pretty well informed due to the presence of Haneiko with the Circle, about what happened and plans going forward.

On The Road Again
Resplendent Fire 765:

Wherein the Circle Is Once Again On The Road, Metaphorically As The Case May Be, As Their Journey Takes Brings Them To The Oceans Of The Underworld


3 Mercuryday - 4, Venusday:

Seven finished healing in the manse once known as the Doomsday Bunker, and the Semi-Circle returns to Great Forks.  The ship destined for the Underworld was finished and the ship was burnt.  After going through the nearby shadowlands, the Circle found that the ghost ship was created and Captain Elaine was nearby waiting, correctly assuming the Circle wanted to go to the water-logged crater once known as Grey Falls.

Captain Elaine was able to make a link between Kazu and his relative to make the trip quicker.  The trip was relatively uneventful, and the travelers speculated on what the Dragonkings hoped to accomplish.  It was theorized that the blast was intended to break Creation creating a hole leading to the Labyrinth, if not the Void itself.  When they reached to "deep waters" near Grey Falls, the crew went trawling for ghosts, and Kazu was able to help sent the ghosts to Lethe so as to rescue as many as possible.  On the way a Moonshadow Abyssal and his (probably) Day Caste parnter were discovered doing something to a group of ghosts.  The Moonshadow was killed, but was finished off by his partner so the Circle couldn't make him talk.  The surviving Abyssal was successfully able to hide to spy another day.

At the center of the blast, the Circle found Tyr, the Dragonking Master of Void, bound by chains made from the souls of the Tepets.  Tyr had a bit to say, revealing those following the Path of Void could hear the whispers of the Neverborn, Walker In Darkness was the one that empowered the Dragonkings and also bound Tyr for his failure.  

Kazu (Light's Valor) asked Harmony (Fading Laughter) to sanctify an Oath that Tyr wouldn't follow the path of Void in his next life, and wouldn't follow any dark paths if Light's Valor ever regained the implements that made the dark paths.  Whether the Oath effects later lifetimes remains to be seen.

In Which There Are Things To Do And Places To Be
Resplendent Fire 765:

3, Mercuryday (Fairly Early in the Morning):

Nezri comes by to see what all the excitement was about, and was not happy to hear about the Dragonking's shenanigans.  Seven eventually woke up and talked about what she saw, which included a the Void Path Dragonkings creepy ass necklace with chunks of the Abyss embedded into it.  She also mentioned she and a group of others party crashed the Lover's Citadel.  She mentioned she escaped because Lilith had left some kind of clone that tricked the Lover long enough for them to get out, (though sometime afterwards she mentioned that it seemed pretty choreographed/scripted and wanted to talk to DS about it later.)

Kazu Stormwind Rider'd Hai'li and Harmony home, after which Kazu, DS, and Seven went to the manse to get Seven healed up quicker.

While there, DS communed with the Neverborn to find out how the DKs did what they did, which is how he found out they were mining the Void.  While doing so, the Neverborn known as "Wisdom Wreathed in Darkness and Crowned in Sublime Entropy" possessed his body to chat (and flirt?) with Kazu.  Apparently Light's Valor was best buds ("Frenemies") with said Neverborn. This lead to the question of why communicating with the Neverborn was different for DS than any other creature in or outside of Creation (with whole incredibly unpleasant, inevitably leading to madness thing.)

Feard stayed in Great Forks to finish the ship being built for Captain Elaine, so it could be sent to the Underworld and hopefully get the Circle in contact with her to see about what was going on in the crater formerly known as Grey Falls.

In Which Events Suggest That Downtime Is Inevitably The Worst Idea
Descending Wood: Isn't Gem the city that's supposed to blow up?

In Which the Events Following the Spying Mission Suggest To Our Heroes, Or At Least Their Players, That Downtime Is Inevitably The Worst Idea


Descending Wood: 

After meeting up with Hai'li, Kazu decided to hang out with the group in Rathess.  They Investigated the eternal fire area, only to discover that it did appear to be a shadowland, and the link between the Circle was muffled when they entered.  Inside, they found that it was hosting a ritual combat for the Flame Path Dragonkings.  They fought and if they learned to breath flame and kill their opponent, they passed the trial.  If neither breathed flame, they were both killed as failures. 

The Semi-Circle decided not to investigate Rathess its self.  DS was still concerned about what the Dragonkings were planning in Mela's Grace and suggested that it at least be observed.  Kazu decided to Infallible Messenger Seven to ask her to investigate.

In the interests of not being in the South during summer, the Circle agreed to stay in Great Forks and help war efforts until Fall.


Resplendent Fire 2 (Midnight):

DS was woken up by a burst of necromantic energy, with the Neverborn being really happy for a moment, then super angry with their whispers being louder than any he had heard without the headphones.  He went to Kazu to ask him to guard him while he tranced, since he wanted to listen to what the fuss was all about, but was concerned about listening to the Neverborn while they were in this state.

While this happen, Dreamweaver showed up to see if DS knew anything about what was going on since the necromantic burst resonated with him.  She mentioned the burst came from the north and it seemed to be drawn to DS like he was a magnet.

While DS and Kazu were making a Working so he could listen to the Neverborn without them hijacking his body, a seconds away from dead, unconscious Seven was flown into the room courtesy of the elemental Kazu made for her.  They stopped working on the Working so DS could heal her.  It was entirely possible that he wouldn't have been able to save her if he hadn't been overcharged on necromantic Essence at the time, due to the fact that her wounds were poisoned by necromantic essence, which needed to be purged, and that she was breaths away from dying. 

After he stabilized her, DS realized they couldn't feel her over the Circle link because she was so saturated with necromantic energies it was like she was in the Underworld.  The elemental reported that, after the skirmish at Mela's Grace, the Dragonkings requested entry into Greyfalls to talk to their "employer".  Greyfalls was then destroyed in an explosion of necromantic energy.  Seven shielded the elemental so it could get her to Great Forks.  Feard and Xian Lin showed up to see what DS's anima banner flare was all about.

Kazu sent an Infallible Messanger to Nezri telling him Greyfalls was gone and he needed to come to the Intent Compund to talk.

In Which the Circle Show Caution, Until It Doesn't
Resplendent Wood 765: Spying continues
22, Sunsday – 28, Saturnsday:

The Semi-Circle (and company) eventually decides to spend a week spying on the camps outside of Rathess before investigating the city itself.

Among other things, they discovered the large mound was actually the gigantic Lord of Ash.  They Dragonkings perfomed some kind of ritual so they wouldn't wake him when they fed him.

There weren't Flame troops camped outside Rathess, only Void, Ash, Blood, and Brass.

The Circle theorized that their food, which was made of sea birds and whale blubbler, was obtained through a portal to the West.  DS listened to the Neverborns whispers and it seemed to confirm they were hunting in the West, but the Dragonkings didn't seem to be doing anything else, like amassing power, in the West.  Other than avoid the Bodhisattva's ships.  He also discovered the Neverborn's hijacking of his body was getting worse. 

On the 25th, Hai'li decided to go Pterok hunting.  She eventually stole its form but upon consuming its heart's blood, was consumed by an unreasoning panic of something being "wrong" and randomly fled farther East.  Kazu. upon sensing this, immediately Stormwind Ridered to reach her location.  Eventually Hai'li's fear left as suddenly as it came and she decided to go meet Kazu as she felt his approach.

In which Nothing Happens...
Resplendent Wood 765: ????

Something may've happened here, but it is now nothing. And while no discernable time passed, the Circle still gained strength from the experience of it…

Wherein the Semi-Circle Investigates Rathess
Resplendent Wood 765: Shenanigans
21, Saturnsday:

Spent the day preliminary spying in Rathess.

22, Sunsday:

The Half-Circle (and associates) goes to explore Rathess.  They find out the Plausible Deniability Branch of the Guild is making a deal with the Dragonkings to attack a town near Greyfalls called Mela's Grace.  In return the Dragonkings will be paying in various "exotics" including sorcerer's blood?

The Dragonking mentions to Guild envoy to make sure they're armed with silver to defeat them since they won't hold back in the attack.

Hai'li further split the Circle and entered Rathess on her own.  She triggered an alarm but was able to hide from them because shapeshifting.


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